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Florida subsidy orgy over?

Sanford-Burnham Orlando move during Jeb Bush reign not so smooth

What could be called "Jeb Bush's Follies" in Florida is getting worse. Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is considering leaving Lake Nona, near Orlando. A subsidy orgy began in 2003 when San Diego's Scripps Research Institute got a $500 million handout to set up an operation in Palm Beach County.

Two other San Diego-based research institutes joined Scripps in Florida with fat subsidies in hand: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (near Orlando) and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies (Port St. Lucie.). But as the Reader reported, Florida was shelling out more than $1 billion per created job — a staggering sum.

In May of this year, Orlando media were reporting that Sanford-Burnham was getting ready to depart Florida. So the state decided to throw good money after bad: the University of Florida would take over Sanford-Burnham. But that will cost $3.7 million per year, according to the Orlando Business Journal. On June 9, the University of Florida Educational Policy & Strategic Initiatives committee said it was in "positive discussions" with the State Department of Economic Opportunity and governor Rick Scott's office.

Jeb Bush, when governor of the state, set up these massive subsidization deals. Even as he ran for the Republican nomination for president this year, Bush was talking as if these research institute welfare deals were boosting the state's economy.

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What could be called "Jeb Bush's Follies" in Florida is getting worse. Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is considering leaving Lake Nona, near Orlando. A subsidy orgy began in 2003 when San Diego's Scripps Research Institute got a $500 million handout to set up an operation in Palm Beach County.

Two other San Diego-based research institutes joined Scripps in Florida with fat subsidies in hand: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (near Orlando) and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies (Port St. Lucie.). But as the Reader reported, Florida was shelling out more than $1 billion per created job — a staggering sum.

In May of this year, Orlando media were reporting that Sanford-Burnham was getting ready to depart Florida. So the state decided to throw good money after bad: the University of Florida would take over Sanford-Burnham. But that will cost $3.7 million per year, according to the Orlando Business Journal. On June 9, the University of Florida Educational Policy & Strategic Initiatives committee said it was in "positive discussions" with the State Department of Economic Opportunity and governor Rick Scott's office.

Jeb Bush, when governor of the state, set up these massive subsidization deals. Even as he ran for the Republican nomination for president this year, Bush was talking as if these research institute welfare deals were boosting the state's economy.

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Comments
6

Each of the names:

Sanford

Burnham

Prebys

Conjures vague memories suggesting an interesting history. I just can't recall details. Do you have any juicy reminders for me?

June 13, 2016

swell: The research center's name has been changed several times. T. Denny Sanford, Malin Burnham, and Conrad Prebys got listed in the title after making substantial contributions. Best, Don Bauder

June 13, 2016

Recently the esteemed Scripps Research Institute was reported to be in financial trouble -- again -- with drastically reduced NIH grant money and even though it has headed off a crass proposed merger with USC. I have always wondered how the Scripps Florida spin-off has affected the Scripps Research Torrey Pines operation. Do you know, Don?

June 13, 2016

monaghan: I don't know that the Florida misadventure is THE reason for Scripps' problems, but it has to be ONE of the reasons. Since I started covering this Florida biotech migration, I noted several things: 1. The subsidy came to $1 million per job in some cases. That is ridiculous; 2. Florida does not have the university strength to be a biotech hub; 3. A state or community can't just woo a bunch of biotech companies or scientific tanks and transplant them to a state that doesn't have the background in the science; 4. Recruiting scientists to such a faux hub would be difficult; 5. Spinning off initial public offerings (as Florida foolishly expected) is not a good bet in a cluster far away from the major ones.

San Diego, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Silicon Valley are the major biotech centers -- happily, in that order. Best, Don Bauder

June 14, 2016

Where does Craig Venter fit in to all this - he seems to be planning or has started a lot of new biotech ventures in San Diego. Does he have FL ties as well?

June 14, 2016

ImJustABill: Venter, the distinguished geneticist, lives in La Jolla. I am not aware of any connection he has to the San Diego research organizations that put satellite operations in Florida. Best, Don Bauder

June 14, 2016

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